Today in Catholic History – The Battle of St. Quentin

On 10 August 1557, the combined forces of Spain and England defeated those of France at the Battle of St. Quentin. This was the first military victory of Philip II as King of Spain.

At this time, Philip II, also the Holy Roman Emperor, was allied with England as a result of his marriage to Queen Mary of England. Spain and France had been at war for some years over which country would have greater dominance over Europe.

The battle took place on the feast day of Saint Lawrence, so Philip constructed the palace El Escorial [now the Monastery of Saint Lawrence] as a memorial to the victory and in the saint’s honor. One tradition holds that palace was constructed in the shape of a gridiron which was the shape of the instrument of Lawrence’s martyrdom. Others argue that the palace was constructed in the shape of the Temple of Solomon. The palace was completed in 1584.

Spain’s victory did not have much of an effect on the kingdoms of France, Spain or England but it did enable the Duchy of Savoy to obtain its independence from France.

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